Is Auburn in danger of losing the commitment of WR Jaquay Williams to UGA?
UGA is making a late charge for Williams, and offered a football scholarship last week to the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder from Sandy Creek High School. Williams is considered the state’s No. 1 prospect at wide receiver.
Williams, who committed to Auburn over Ohio State last summer, told the AJC he will make an unofficial visit to Georgia on Saturday – his first trip to Athens in two years. Part of the reason will be to hear out the sincerity of UGA’s interest, and the other part will be to watch Auburn play in person.
“I’m going to go up there, look around and check things out,” Williams told the AJC on Thursday night. “But I’m really locked in on Auburn right now. Something crazy, and I mean real crazy, would have to happen to get me off the Auburn bandwagon.”
Williams and his coach were caught by surprise when UGA wide receivers coach Tony Ball finally called to offer a scholarship last week. UGA hopes to sign as many as three wide receivers this year and has only one commitment with M.L. King’s Blake Tibbs. Georgia Military junior college’s Lonnie Outlaw was previously committed to the Bulldogs but will not be attending UGA, his coach told ESPN’s DawgNation’s Kipp Adams on Thursday. UGA also apparently isn’t feeling as confident on some out-of-state targets.
“UGA called and said they did want to offer a scholarship,” Sandy Creek coach Chip Walker said. “They knew they were behind with recruiting Jaquay but they had something free up so they wanted to offer.
“I think Jaquay was happy with the offer. Anytime you get an offer from a big-time program in your state it’s a positive. Now I don’t know what type of effect the offer will have on him. Like I told Georgia, they have a lot of catching up to do. Not that they can’t do it. I don’t know that. I don’t speak for Jaquay.”
UGA coach Mark Richt called last week about Williams, and UGA recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner exchanged voice mails a couple of times with the Sandy Creek coach this week.
“I talked with Coach Ball, and he said right now if I come there I can make an instant impact on the Georgia offense,” Williams said. “He said they really need me because they are low on wide receivers.”
What did Williams think about the UGA offer? “I was a little excited about it but I wasn’t really pumped up about it. Now if they had offered me last year when other schools did, I would’ve really been really pumped up about it. I’ve just built up a great relationship with the Auburn coaches. It’s like family over there.”
UGA might be the most serious threat to sway Williams away from Auburn, but they are not the only threat. Alabama, LSU, Arkansas, Ohio State, Michigan, West Virginia and Pitt are some of the other colleges maintaining contact with Williams, who has not decided if he will take official visits to anywhere else than Auburn. “Right now, my main focus is helping my high school win another state championship,” Williams said. “After the season is over, I will sit down with my parents and we’ll talk about everything.”
This season, Williams has caught 30 passes for 767 yards and 7 touchdowns for Sandy Creek, along with returning both a punt and kickoff for touchdowns. Williams created high expectations for himself after winning MVP at wide receiver at every prospect camp he attended before his senior season.
“There’s no doubt that Jaquay has met all of our expectations and he’s exceeded them,” Walker said. “Anytime he gets the ball in his hands, he’s dangerous. Also, he has really developed into a good perimeter blocker, which has done nothing but help our running game. Jaquay is the complete football player at wide receiver.”
Sandy Creek is also the alma mater of NFL All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson. We had to ask: How do Johnson and Williams compare?
“Physically, I don’t think anybody will ever compare to Calvin Johnson when he was in high school,” Walker said. “He was taller, bigger and all of those things. However, as far as productivity, because we throw the ball more now than when we had Calvin, Jaquay has put up bigger numbers. But I don’t know if it’s fair to compare any wideout anywhere to Calvin Johnson because I don’t think there’s ever going to be another one of those.”
Williams may not compare to a once-in-a-lifetime player like Johnson but he’s — by far — the most dominating wide receiver prospect in Georgia this year with his rare combination of size, speed and power. Johnson was one of five Georgia players selected for the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Phoenix on Jan. 3, along with Woodward Academy defensive tackle Jordan Watkins (committed to Stanford), Jenkins County defensive end James DeLoach (UGA), North Oconee offensive lineman Joseph Scelfo (undecided) and Buford cornerback Ryan Dillard (undecided).